By Scott Vanderpool



Elvis Presley played ABC TV’s Milton Berle Show today in 1956, busting into an uptempo version of his hit Hound Dog, but halfway through the song with a wave of his arm his band dropped to half-speed as The King exaggerated his hip gyrations, shocking the many conservative members of the viewing audience who wrote in to complain.

Bob Zimmerman graduated from high school in Hibbing Minnesota today in 1959. The future Bob Dylan gave no inkling of the folk legend he would become: His leather jacket and long sideburns made most of his classmates think of him as a “greaser”.

The Rolling Stones played for the first time on American soil tonight in 1964 at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernadino California. Their first album had just come out, but Bill Wyman remembered that first tour as a disaster. “When we arrived we didn’t have a hit record or anything going for us”.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience were the musical guests on Dusty Springfield’s British TV show Dusty today in 1968. They played Voodoo Child, Stone Free, the joined Dusty for a version of Mockingbird.

Grand Funk Railroad broke The Beatles record today in 1971 when they sold out New York’s Shea Stadium in 72 hours.

Pink Floyd were at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London today in 1975, working on final mixes of the song Shine On You Crazy Diamond for their new album Wish You Were Here, and getting ready for a quickie wedding reception for the recently-married David Gilmore in the EMI cantina, when an overweight man with shaved head and eyebrows showed up holding a plastic bag. Gilmore assumed he was an EMI staffer, Roger Waters and Nick Mason had no idea who he was. It was Rick Wright who at first thought it was some friend of Waters until he realized it was the group’s founder Syd Barrett. Several members of the band and crew were reduced to tears as Syd “sat around and talked for a bit, but wasn’t really there”. When asked how he gained so much weight, Syd said that he had a large refrigerator and had been eating a lot of pork chops. He mentioned that he was ready to “avail the band of his services”, but while listening to the song showed no sign of realizing it was about him, and left without saying goodbye during the wedding reception, and none of Pink Floyd ever saw him again.

Alice Cooper’s favorite stage sidekick, a large boa constrictor, was bitten fatally by it’s rat breakfast this morning in 1977. Alice got another snake, and has had many since.

Blues legend Muddy Waters was 64 today in 1979 when he married Marva Jean Brooks on her 25th birthday.

U2 were in the midst of a 48-date North American tour tonight in 1983 when they played the stunning Red Rocks Amphitheater outside of Denver Colorado. They filmed the show and released it on both VHS and Beta videocassettes as U2 At Red Rocks: Under A Blood Red Sky.

Steely Dan’s original drummer Jim Hodder drowned in his swimming pool today in 1990. He was just 42.

The Ramones bass player and principal songwriter Dee Dee Ramone (Doug Colvin) died of a heroin overdose at his Hollywood apartment today in 2002. He was 49.

Paul McCartney released his 21st album since the breakup of The Beatles today in 2007. Memory Almost Full came out on a new record label launched by Seattle coffee giant Starbucks called Hear Music,  and was being played simultaneously in a continuous loop in some 10,000 coffee shops in 29 countries, but at home in England it was later announced that the album would not be eligible for the pop charts because the 533 UK Starbucks were not registered as record stores.

Rock and Roll Birthdays

Sly and the Family Stone guitarist Freddie Stone is 66. The band included his Stone family brother Sly and sisters Rosie and Vet.

Art-rock singer-inventor Laurie Anderson is 66. She married Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed in 2008.

Badfinger bass player, singer, and songwriter Tom Evans would be 66 had he not taken his own life at age 36.

Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain is 61. He was asked to join the band in 1982, but as original drummer Clive Burr had not been told, Nicko played his first show with the band disguised as their mascot Eddie.

The Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler is 57.


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